The Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 is set to be both a sporting and music extravaganza.
In addition to the 64 matches being played during the 28-day event, which kicks off on November 20, nearly 100 artists will perform across Doha as part of three music festivals.
Leading the pack is Arcadia, running from November 19 to December 18.
Taking part in a site built near the Ras Bu Fontas metro station, Arcadia is set to host up to 25,000 people daily, with top DJs performing in what is dubbed as Qatar's largest EDM festival.
In addition to the three main stages, Arcadia will be home to The Spider — a spectacular pyro technique feature that will breathe fire during performances.
Made from metal and weighing 50 tonnes, The Spider has appeared in popular music festivals such as Glastonbury in the UK and Ultra Music Festival in the US.
And, that is only the beginning.
In an exclusive interview with The National, chief executive of event organiser Alchemy Project Entertainment, Mac S Far, reveals two more music festivals will also take place during the World Cup.
After launching in 2019, Daydream Festival Qatar will return from November 22 to December 18 at the Doha Golf Club with a packed line-up of DJs.
“Daydream will have a phenomenal colourful stage that is 45 metres high,” Far says.
“Where Arcadia will have a number of stages playing different electronic genres, such as Tech-House for instance, Daydream is dedicated to big-selling EDM acts.”
Also on the horizon is World Stage, a series of concerts featuring established acts from various popular genres. “They are all A-list legacy artists ranging from Latin pop, rock, pop and R&B music,” Far says.
“They will play back-to-back hits and they are all viewed as leaders of their respective genres.”
The artist line-up of all three festivals and ticketing will be announced soon, in addition to the dates and venue for World Stage.
These moves cap off nearly four years of work for Alchemy Project Entertainment that, after launching in Dubai in 2009, went on to establish itself as Qatar’s leading events company. In addition to the festivals, the company is set to bring Enrique Iglesias in for a concert at the Doha Golf Club on October 21.
“I have never seen such ambition and support to get so many top-tier artists to Doha for this short period of time,” Far says.
“At the end of the day, what is important is for people to know that the Middle East is the next big thing in the world and it deserves great publicity. We will show we can put the kinds of events and hospitality the world has never seen before.
“This is, of course, a challenge, but the overall energy here is to really go above and beyond, and this is what we are determined to do.”
Far points to the construction of the large Arcadia site as an example. “People would not even think that this site is just an empty, brown, flat land,” he says.
“We chose it because it is in front of a metro station, and one of Doha's largest bus stations is only 50 metres away.
“With so many people in Doha during that time, accessibility is key.”
While all three festivals are large in scope and ambition, Far is confident of each being well attended, in addition to maintaining the quality of the music programme throughout the month.
According to World Cup organisers Fifa, 1.2 million fans are expected to travel to Doha during the 28-day tournament.
“With the matches all happening in Doha, the footprint of people in the city will be really large and we estimate the average stay for travellers is three days,” he says.
“So we count on that cycle of movement of people when it comes to planning the events and artist performances.
“This is a different kind of dynamic and actually quite unprecedented. We don't know what to expect and that's what makes it all the more exciting for us.”